The Center for Collaborative Awareness
Collaboration Design Document
The following 1-page document is how we start every relationship in our organization— both internal and external.
In our organization, a conversation begins with a client, supplier, employee, volunteer, or another organization, etc. and they read our Organization Introduction Collaboration Document as seen below.
Next, we invite them to write their half of the Blueprint of We Collaboration Document below, and the work begins. This also serves as our legal contract; built with people and process in mind.
A Blueprint of We Collaboration Document
Between The Center for Collaborative Awareness and You
It’s important to us to build a healthy relationship with you from the start. We do this by creating a Blueprint of We Collaboration Document. The following is our half of that Document, and we invite you to write your half of these 5 Components.
The 5 Components of a Blueprint of We Collaboration Document are:
The Story of Us
What draws you to these people and this situation.
Interaction Styles & Stress Messages
Who you are. How you work best.
Determine what matters most. Use it to mindfully design what, when, why and how.
Questions for Peace & Possibility
Capture creative and compassionate you ahead of time.
Short & Long-Term Timeframes
Coming back to center and expanding.
1. The Story of Us
Who we are and the passion behind why we do what we do
Our organization is made up of individuals who are passionate about creating effortless, resilient and creative relationships. Creating Blueprint of We Collaboration Documents, such as this one, have dramatically altered the way we do business because we start our relationships from a deeper level of conversation and connection. This more quickly moves people to clear action, accesses everyone’s creative mind, and builds trust from the start; accelerating what we can accomplish together.
Our exciting, increasingly complex world now goes beyond self awareness and demands Collaborative Awareness; the ability to quiet our safety brains that get hijacked by stress, custom design what will be done together, and expand our understanding and definition of We. Opportunities to collaborate are becoming less traditional, requiring individuals and organizations to mindfully design new tools, structures and definitions for working together. That’s the knowledge and space we hold for others, and we’re exceptionally good at it.
We are at the cutting edge of innovation in both big and small ways, embracing the exponential learning and transformation that arises when we mindfully and collaboratively build our relationships and our Blueprint of We.
2. Interaction Styles & Stress Messages
How we get our best work done
Clarity is crucial. Questions are encouraged.
We are most energized by working with people who are willing to be open-minded.
If something feels off, we’ll be the first to mention it. We ask that you do the same.
What you experience with us might at times push the boundaries of typical business models. We ask you to be willing to stretch and give us feedback along the way. We are open to taking risks in partnership with you because we build such strong relationships at the start.
It’s important that we’re all having fun doing this work! Our brains are wired to work better that way.
3. Custom Design
What we value as a lens through which we custom design our collaborations
It’s important to us that we make conscious choices around what we are creating together. We depend on open and continual communication to do so.
Every individual comes into every situation with a level of expectation. We want to know your expectations and we will always share ours on an ongoing basis. By checking in and asking questions of one another, we don’t rely on assumptions and we can better serve one another and the work at hand.
Our most important goal is to stay in an open, collaborative space - no matter what. It’s something we relentlessly pursue.
We’d like to agree that each of us can ask for everything, always. Don’t censor yourself as we’re always interested to see if we can do what you ask. On the flip side, we ask that we all agree to always authentically say our truthful yes or no when the other asks.
If it appears that what we’ve designed for you is not working, come talk to us. We typically have solid reasons for our approach, but maybe we need to communicate them more thoroughly.
4. Questions for Peace & Possibility
Accelerating clarity through curiosity
We have chosen to create this Blueprint of We because our intention is to build great collaborations. There will be times when we want to turn up the volume on what’s working well. There are other times, when life appears imperfect we want to use stress for clarity. If for some reason things get off track, or we’re looking to improve we commit to having a conversation to find clarity on how best to move forward and we ask that you do the same. The following possible questions can be used to get us back to peace or improve the positive aspects of our work together:
Do each of us feel we’re getting what we anticipated? Is there something that’s no longer working for one or both of us?
What do we most appreciate about the work we’ve done together so far?
Is there something difficult we’re avoiding saying or doing?
What’s really working for us right now? How can we expand on that?
5. Short & Long-Term Timeframes
Our commitment not to avoid stress, but use it for clarity and movement
Once we create a joint Blueprint of We, we can collaboratively choose how often to review and update our document as our relationship progresses.
Like a stick in your shoe, it’s crucial that even the littlest stress is brought to the surface and addressed. We propose our Short-Term Timeframe to be 24 hours. We will go no longer than a day before we use the stress we're experiencing to have a conversation to get clarity. We propose our Long-Term Timeframe to be 1 year. We also agree that if the unimaginable happens, and the people involved can’t seem to come together to go over this document, we commit to being respectful of everyone involved as we each move forward.
We’ve created the Blueprint of We as a way to place our relationships with others above all other business concerns. We want to nurture them and enable them to grow rich and healthy, which positively impacts the bottom line of both your organization and ours.
Maureen McCarthy and Zelle Nelson and the Center for Collaborative Awareness
The Organization Introduction Version of the Blueprint of We
The Organization Introduction Blueprint of We is a powerful way to create clarity up front and quickly establish positive working relationships. It is a concise, 1 or 2-page document about your organization and how it collaborates, that is shared with external parties connecting with your organization, or new members joining your organization.
In sharing your Introduction Blueprint you’re not only presenting your organization's brand identity, you are building the foundation for collaboration. Blueprints of We are being used as legal contracts or as an enhancement to more traditional legal contracts. You’ll be surprised how much clarity you gain about your own organization as well.
The Organization Introduction Blueprint is your first communication and it sets the stage for healthy interactions from the start. As you present this finished document, you also invite the other collaborators to write their portion of the 5 Components to build a Blueprint of We 1.0 document for your relationship. Beginning your relationship with a collaboration document will quickly build trust, clarify roles and deliverables, and unleash your collective creativity.